Children's Fund of Michigan, records, 1929-1965 (majority within 1929-1961)
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- Children's Fund of Michigan.
- Detroit based philanthropic foundation created by Senator James J. Couzens and administered by William J. Norton to fund organizations in Michigan involved in child health and child guidance; includes administrative records, correspondence, reports of field visits, and topical files.
23 linear feet (in 24 boxes)
4 oversize volumes
1 oversize folder
- Call Number:
- 85963 BJ Bj2 UBJm
- Finding aid prepared by: Michigan Historical Collections staff
- Scope and Content:
In the period beginning from the start of the depression and continuing through the mid-1950s, the Children's Fund of Michigan (CFM) was the state's most important private source of funding for programs having to do with children's health and recreational needs. Established just as the depression was beginning, it is impossible to overestimate the contribution made by this organization in such areas as rudimentary child health and dental care, pediatric care, in the establishment of area children's clinics, in its grants to nursing associations and hospitals, in its sponsorship of research in areas pertaining to childhood diseases and ailments, and in the funding and support of such youth-related organizations as the Girls and Boys Scouts, the Green Pastures Camp for Detroit area African American youth, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The organization affected thousands of young lives at a time when help was most needed. The record of its contribution is fully documented through such records as minutes, correspondence, reports from the field, memoranda, and financial records. Topics documented within this collection include the condition of children and young people in mid-Twentieth Century America as the nation went through depression, world war, and the uncertainties of the post-war; the administration of a unique multi-million dollar charitable organization and how it allocated its resources; and, lastly, the activities during a twenty-five year period of the several statewide organizations begun or largely supported with CFM funding.
This record group consists of files from the CFM office in Detroit. The files are of CFM executive director and secretary, William J. Norton, and various other division directors, in particular Maud Watson and John M. Dorsey of the Child Guidance Division and Bernard W. Carey of the Child Health Division. They cover the period of 1929-1954, the twenty-five year life of the Fund, although there are included some papers dating up to the early 1960s. The presence of this later dated material is easily explained. As someone who was involved in social welfare organizations other than CFM, Norton continued to use the files (as he had in the past) for those papers relating to his other philanthropic and charitable organization activities. This filing practice, in addition to the fact that Norton (after 1954) continued to receive and file reports and memoranda from organizations and facilities that had received CFM funding, accounts for post-1954 materials in this record group. Norton was so closely identified with both CFM and the numerous local and state charitable organizations of the time that it is not feasible to divorce the two kinds of records - especially as Norton chose to file them as one. The researcher should note that the library has a separate William J. Norton collection that was received separately from the CFM records and which was most likely maintained in a different location. This Norton collection includes more personal materials not necessarily relating to the Children's Fund.
- Biographical / Historical:
The Children's Fund of Michigan (CFM) was a charitable corporation created April 11, 1929 by Michigan Senator James Couzens with a gift of ten million dollars. The fund was to be used primarily for the benefit of the children of Michigan and was to be totally consumed within a period of twenty-five years. According to the terms of the trust, the fund was intended to "promote the health, welfare, happiness and development of the children of Michigan primarily, and elsewhere in the world." The fund was to be governed by a board of trustees. Officers of the organizations were to be chosen mainly from the trustees, but other individuals, not trustees, could be elected or appointed. The day-to-day administration of the fund rested in the capable hands of its executive vice-president and secretary, William J. Norton, himself a distinguished philanthropist.
In practice, the trustees divided the distribution of funds into three areas or divisions, each headed by a director. These were the Child Health Division administered by Bernard W. Carey (1929-1948) and Kenneth R. Gibson (1948-1954); the Child Guidance Division administered by Maud E. Watson (1930-1943) and John M. Dorsey (1944-1954); and the Research Division headed by Icie G. Macy-Hoobler (1930-1954). Special project grants were also awarded from time-to-time outside of these divisions.
The Child Health Division each year made the greatest expenditure of funds mainly in the area of dental care, rural health nursing services, and health education, and with the establishment of children's clinics at Marquette in the Upper Peninsula and Traverse City in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The division also made various yearly grants-in-aid to independent health agencies (such as the Visiting Nurse Association of Detroit) to help in financing their programs.
The Child Guidance Division was largely concerned with behavioral problems of "maladjusted children." Through different child guidance centers established in the state, the fund hoped to address the psychological problems afflicting children at risk because of the depression and because of other emotional and family-based difficulties. The largest of these centers was the Children's Center of Detroit. Eventually the work of these centers was taken over by the state department of mental health. Under the Child Guidance Division, the Edith Thomas Book Project was also funded, providing a circulating loan collection of sets of children's books to school districts and parent-teacher groups in communities of less than two thousand inhabitants.
The Division of Research, under the leadership of Dr. Icie Macy-Hoobler, conducted studies into problems pertaining to nutrition and maternal and infant growth. Initially undertaken in a laboratory operated by the fund, subsequent research was administered in a Child Research Center jointly created by the Children's Fund and the Children's Hospital of Michigan. Types of research funded included causes of the decay of children's teeth, research into orthodontic problems, problems relating to childhood tuberculosis, and causative factors leading to incidence of juvenile delinquency.
Although not a formal division, the Children's Fund distributed various grants-in-aid to groups concerned with providing recreational opportunities. These included the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of Detroit, the Young Men's Christian Association, the Green Pastures Camp of the Detroit Urban League, the Bay Cliff Health Camp in Marquette, Michigan, and Camp Stapleton operated by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, among others.
Further details regarding the work of the Fund can be found in Biography of a Foundation written by William C. Richards and William J. Norton (1957). As specified in the trust instrument, the Children's Fund of Michigan ceased operation twenty-five years to the date of its creation having expended all of the organization's assets.
- Acquisition Information:
- This record group was the gift of William J. Norton (donor no. 4192 ) and came to the library in 1964 and 1965. A smaller addition was received in 1981.
The records of the Children's Fund of Michigan (CFM) divide into six series: Administration, Alphabetical, Photographs, Scrapbooks, Financial, and Miscellaneous.
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Charities -- Michigan.
Child mental health -- Michigan.
Child welfare -- Michigan.
Children -- Health and hygiene -- Michigan.
Dental clinics -- Michigan.
Depressions -- 1929 -- United States.
Hospitals -- Michigan -- Detroit.
Hospitals -- Michigan -- Traverse City.
Hospitals -- Michigan -- Marquette.
Philanthropists -- Michigan.
Social service -- Michigan -- Societies, etc.
Parades and processions.
Public health -- Michigan.
Roads -- Michigan, Northern.
Schools -- Michigan.
Sleds and sleighs.
Children's Hospital of Michigan.
Detroit (Mich.). Mayor's Interracial Committee.
Michigan. State Emergency Welfare Relief Commission.
United Community Services of Metropolitan Detroit.
Children's Fund of Michigan.
Couzens, James, 1872-1936.
Norton, William J. (William John), 1883-1975.
Carey, B. W.
Dorsey, John M. (John Morris), 1900-1978.
Gibson, Kenneth Richard, 1895-1959.
Kenworthy, Marion E.
Watson, Maud E.
Alcona County (Mich.)
Alger County (Mich.)
Antrim County (Mich.)
Arenac County (Mich.)
Benzie County (Mich.)
Charlevoix County (Mich.)
Cheboygan County (Mich.)
Chippewa County (Mich.)
Gladwin County (Mich.)
Grand Traverse County (Mich.)
Houghton County (Mich.)
Iosco County (Mich.)
Iron County (Mich.)
Isabella County (Mich.)
Keweenaw County (Mich.)
Lake County (Mich.)
Mackinac County (Mich.)
Menominee County (Mich.)
Montmorency County (Mich.)
Newaygo County (Mich.)
Oceana County (Mich.)
Ogemaw County (Mich.)
Osceola County (Mich.)
Oscoda County (Mich.)
Roscommon County (Mich.)
Van Buren County (Mich.)
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.
- PREFERRED CITATION:
item, folder title, box no., Children's Fund of Michigan Records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan